Adding a Room Above the Garage

Monday, February 9th, 2015 by Danny Peterson

Would you like to have some extra room in your home? Who wouldn’t! Doing so is certainly possible, and in fact people add rooms to their homes all the time. The real question is where. One way to add a room is to simply knock out a wall and add to the basic floor plan of your home. The problem with doing this is that the space you take for the room has to come from somewhere, which means taking a chunk out of your lawn. You may or may not have lawn space to spare, and for some homeowners this may not be viable.

Expanding Above the Garage

An alternative is to add a new room above the garage. People have been doing this for decades, and it certainly opens up some possibilities. There are a couple of points to make about above-the-garage expansion before we get into specific tips, however.

  1. First, think about the purpose of the room. We recommend planning your addition as though you are adding bedroom space, complete with closets, windows, and so forth. Many people add above-the-garage office space, but this is a mistake. Added bedrooms enhance a home’s value considerably. Home offices do not.
  2. On a related note: Adding a new room is going to be costly, but it is important to think of it in more constructive terms. It’s not just an expense but an investment in the overall value of your home—so treat it as such, and don’t scrimp!

Tips for Expanding Over the Garage 

With those points made, here are a few quick pointers for planning your expansion over the garage:

  1. Your first order of business is to call a structural engineer to make sure your garage can actually support the added weight of an expansion. If the frame is not up to the task, then you may need to reinforce it somehow.
  2. Fire safety is also going to be a concern. If you add a roof above the garage, you will also need to ensure that the garage ceiling and walls have reinforced, fire-rated drywall to help keep the entire structure safe. A contractor can help you evaluate this.
  3. Additionally, think about your addition in terms of curb appeal; in other words, think about its effects on the exterior of your home, not just the interior. You don’t want to add a room and have it appear, from the outside, like a big clunky box, or like an obvious addition to the home. You want it to mesh with the basic flow and style of the place, so make sure you add windows and gables in keeping with the rest of your home. The ideal scenario is to plan your addition at the same time you plan a whole exterior refurbishment—new siding or a new paint job—to make sure everything looks uniform.
  4. One of the trickiest aspects of adding a room above the garage is ensuring that you have the plumbing, wiring, and HVAC all coordinated. You’ll need to expand the heating and cooling and the electrical into your new room, at the very least, but you can’t put pipes alongside external walls of your home, so your options here are going to be limited. It is more than doable, but it will require your contractor, electrician, and HVAC specialist to work closely together.
  5. Finally, make sure to think about how your new room will impact your existing rooms and floor plan. You’ll need to create a door and a hallway leading into your added room—and where is that space going to come from?

These are all key considerations as you plan your expansion over the garage.

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